Tag Archives: Guinness World Records

Kenya: school children attempt to break world handwashing record

School children at Thirime primary school, Kikuyu, Kenya on Global Handwashing Day. Photo: Thomas Mukoya-Reuters

Close to 20,000 school children and adults took part in a handwashing campaign in an attempt to establish a new Guinness World Record. They gathered at Thirime Primary School in Kikuyu on 15 October 2010 to mark Global Handwashing Day.

Education Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi announced that 19,352 people, including 18,302 children and 1,050 adults washed their hands during the event. If recognised, this would break the previous record for the most number of people washing hands at a single venue set by 15,150 students in Chennai, India, in 2009. Plan Bangladesh and partners claim to hold the record for the most number of people washing hands at multiple locations, when 52,970 school children gathered across the country in October 2009.

Continue reading

Bangladesh: children smash handwashing world record

Washing hands may not seem worthy of a certificate, but for thousands of children in Bangladesh the simple practice has got them into the Guinness Book of World Records.

On Global Handwashing Day last October [2009], Plan Bangladesh and its partners organised an event where 52,970 school children gathered at multiple locations across the country to wash their hands with soap and water. The campaign was set up to motivate people to change their attitude towards current hygiene practices and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day, Bangladesh

Global Handwashing Day: handwashing demonstration in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Photo: MaMoni

Approximately 110,000 Bangladeshi children aged under 5 die due to diarrhoea every year. Hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the disease.

New world record

The gathering smashed the 2008 record which was set by Bangladesh and stood at 1,213 . Now Plan Bangladesh has received a certificate from the Guinness World Records which seals their place in history. [The official Guinness site still lists the record set on 19 October 2009 by the Edenglen primary school in Johannesburg, South Africa with 1,802 handwashing students, while India also claimed it had broken the record when about 15,000 students from 23 schools converged in a sports stadium n Chennai].

Zillur Rahman, Plan Bangladesh’s water and environmental sanitation specialist who coordinated the event, said: “We are very happy we broke the world record in this. Plan got involved in this campaign to highlight the bad hygiene practices in the country and we believe the campaign has raised this issue amongst people especially in the life of children.”

Spreading the word

On the day, 25,000 children gathered in a school playground in Dhaka to take part. After the event, one of the children said: “Now we know the importance of washing hands with soap and water and we will definitely tell our family and community about its benefit.” Thousands more school children washed their hands with soap and water simultaneously all over the country.

In Bangladesh, hygiene practices are generally poor. The national figure of washing hands with soap and water after defecation is 58.8% while this figure drops to 50.4% in rural areas.

Related web sites:

Source: Plan Bangladesh, 01 Jul 2010